Red Alder


Alnus rubra


Bark is thin, yellowish-brown or grey and often has white patches of lichen on it. Mature bark becomes scaly.


Leaves are alternate, 5-15 cm long, elliptic with sharp points at the base and tip. They are dull green and smooth on their upper surfaces and rust-coloured and hairy on their lower surfaces. The margins of the leaves are wavy, slightly rolled under and have course, blunt teeth.


Flowers are male and female catkins that appear before the leaves. Male catkins are 5-12 cm long, cylindrical and reddish. Female catkins are 2 cm long and cylindrical. Cones are up to 2 cm long and brownish.


Vine Maple


Acer glabrum


Leaves are opposite, decidous with 7-9 lobes


White or pink in clusters; Winged green fruits that turn brown in fall


Vine Maple usually grows in wet areas of the park or under other trees

Photo: André-Philippe Picard

Summer Solstice


Summer solstice has past and summer is officially here!  Even though the days will start to get shorter, we are just beginning to enjoy the warmer weather.

We are looking forward to a busy summer in the park.  Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Partnering with a youth settlement group (South Vancouver Neighbourhood House) to introduce new immigrants and refugees to Canadian wildlife and ecosystems
  • Testing out activities and lessons from our new EcoKITS with Eagles in the Sky (Britannia Community Services)
  • Removing invasives Holly from the Acadia Forest Restoration site with the EcoTEAM
  • Counting aquatic invertebrates (insects) at Spanish Creek with StreamKeepers, Catch the Spirit youth and Nature Kids members
  • Piloting our new EcoWATCH monitoring programs out with volunteers

We hope that you have a chance to explore a new trail in the park or come out to one of our Saturday EcoTEAM events from 1:00-4:00.

Acadia Forest Restoration Project

The PSPS EcoTEAM is launching a new restoration project!

HISTORY: The Acadia Forest has a long history of disruption.  In 1930 and then again in 1951, the Acadia Forest on either side of Chancellor Boulevard was cleared to make way for development.  Thanks to a very dedicated group of citizens, the construction project did not go through and in 1989, much of the UBC Endowment lands became a regional park.

PROBLEM #1: Deciduous trees, including Black Cottonwood, Red Alder and Big-leaf Maple quickly established in the cleared site following the clearing.  However, the conifer seed source was removed during clearing, creating an unnatural growth pattern in the area.  Deciduous trees usually start to die after 60-80 years, just as the conifer trees start to take over.  With only a hand full of conifers, the Acadia Forest is missing the next generation of trees!

PROBLEM #2: Disturbed sites often are perfect areas of invasive plants to spread quickly and the Acadia Forest is no exception.  The area is covered with invasive English Holly, as well as Himalayan Blackberry, English Ivy and English Laurel.

RESTORATION: Over the summer the PSPS EcoTEAM will be removing the invasive plants.  Then, to encourage the natural forest succession and to outcompete the invasive plants as they return, we will be planting conifer trees and shrubs in fall.

SUPPORT:  This project would not be possible without the support of:

  • Pacific Parklands Foundation
  • Metro Vancouver Regional Parks
  • Vancouver Park Board

GET INVOLVED: Sign up for an event today on MeetUp.

Bird Week 2017

Have you ever been to a Vancouver Bird Week event?

This year you can learn how to identify birds by

sight or sound


 bike, kayak or foot.

With 40 free events to choose from, there is something for everyone –

young, old and hipsters!

Find your guide here.

Photos: Linda Mueller

Spring Songs

North Country 

In the north country now it is spring and there

is a certain celebration. The thrush

has come home. He is shy and likes the

evening best, also the hour just before

morning; in that blue and gritty light he

climbs to his branch, or smoothly

sails there.  It is okay to know only

one song if it is this one. Hear it

rise and fall; the very elements of your soul

shiver nicely.  What would spring be

without it?  Mostly frogs.  But don’t worry, he

arrives, year after year, humble and obedient

and gorgeous.  You listen and you know

you could live a better life than you do, be

softer, kinder.  And maybe this year you will

be able to do it.  Hear how his voice

rises and falls.  There is now way to be

sufficiently grateful for the gifts we are

given, though do try, and

especially now, as that dapples breast

breathes in the pines and heaven’s

windows in the north country, now spring has come,

are open wide.

~ By Mary Oliver

What songs are you hearing in the Park these days?


 Photos: Pacific Tree Frog & Tree Swallows at Jericho Beach Park taken by Linda Mueller

Spring Wonders

What wonders are you discovering in Pacific Spirit Regional Park these days?  

Here is a little look at a few native plants in the Park and and some of their medicinal uses.

Remember: Absolutely no harvesting of any kind is allow in Regional Parks.  Please use your garden or a community garden as place to grow and harvest these wonderful native plants.  

Red Elderberry Sambucus racemosa

Dried red elderberries make a delicious immune-busting tea.  

Salmonberry Rubus spectabilis

The ripening of the salmonberries in May & June is often associated with the upward-spiraling song of Swainson’s thrush.   The berries are delicious and the bark and leaves were used to help relieve digestive troubles.

Stinging Nettle Urtica dioica L.

Although this plant can cause terrible irritation if touched, it makes a lovely tea and is high in iron.

Baldhip Rose Rosa gymnocarpa

The young leaves and twigs were used to make a healing tonic by many northwest coast First Nations.  The dried rose hips also make a lovely tea.  

Scouler’s Willow Salix scouleriana

There are 35 different types of willows in the Pacific Northwest.  Willows are high in vitamin C and have anti-inflamatory and pain relieving properties.

Indian Plum Oemleria cersiformis

The fruit of the Indian plum is small and very bitter until very ripe, but is high in vitamin C, iron and potassium.  It should only be used in very small quantities.


Interview with PSPS Program Coordinator: Krista Voth

This week Chris Ma and Brady Sprague from Saint George’s Senior School interviewed Krista, the PSPS Program Coordinator. Here are parts of those interviews:

Chris: When you were an adolescent, what organization did you volunteer for? Did you do anything more than volunteering?

Krista: As an adolescent growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba I volunteered at a retirement home. I visited the residents and led bingo events. I really enjoyed getting to know many of the residents and hearing some great stories. Aside from my volunteer work, I did lots of babysitting in my neighbourhood.

Brady:  What animals do you notice in the park when you’re out walking?

Krista: Pacific Spirit Regional Park has a huge variety of birds because of the range of ecosystems represented. The wetlands, streams, forests, meadows and shorelines all provide important habitat for both year round resident birds and migrating birds. We also frequently see salamanders in the forests and salmon fry in the streams.

Brady: In your mind, what impacts do these animals have on the park?

Krista: The birds spread seeds throughout the park, which can have both positive and negative impacts on the park.   Birds help maintain native plant biodiversity and encourage forest growth when they spread native plant seeds.   However, birds also spread invasive plants seed throughout the park. That is one reason why it is so important for PSPS and local gardeners to remove invasive plants from the park and their yards.

Brady: What do you notice about the way people treat the park?

Krista: I notice that most people make efforts to care for the park by picking up after their dogs, reporting invasive plants or fallen logs, staying on the trail and not harvesting the vegetation. However, I see evidence that some people explore off trail, let their dogs off leash in environmentally sensitive areas or leave their dog waste along the trail. Even though only a small percent of park users don’t follow the park rules, it has a big environmental impact.

Brady: Why is it important to remove invasive plants from our parks?

Krista: Invasive plants have no natural competition in the areas where they are introduced. The pests, diseases and plant diversity in their origin country all help to keep nature in balance. When there are no diseases or pests to help keep the balance, these introduced plants spread very fast and take over large areas of the park. This reduces the amount of space, light and nutrients for other plants.

Chris: How can I contribute to PSPS if I do not have time to volunteer?

Krista: If you do not have time to volunteer, you can spread the word about the importance of park etiquette, such as staying on the trails, keeping dogs on leash in environmentally sensitive areas and cleaning up after your dog in the park.   Also donations are always welcome to help run our programs!

Brady: What keeps you motivated to continue helping the park?

Krista: Seeing the dedication and enthusiasm of the volunteers is the biggest motivation for me!